Tourism to Arches and Canyonlands National Parks Resulted in $309,000,000 in Economic Benefits and Supported 3,822 Local Jobs in 2016

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Date: April 27, 2017
Contact: Kate Cannon, 435-719-2101

A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 1.6 million visitors to Arches National Park in 2016 spent $188.8 million in communities near the park. That spending supported 3,100 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $251.6 million (a 16.3% increase from 2015 and an 82.3 % increase since 2012).

The report also shows that Canyonlands National Park's 776,200 visitors in 2016 spent $47.6 million in local communities, supported 722 jobs, and produced $57.6 million in benefits to local economies (26% higher than 2015 and 107.9% higher than 2012).

"Arches and Canyonlands national parks welcome visitors from all over the country and from around the world," said Superintendent Kate Cannon. "We are honored to care for these special places so people are able to enjoy all the experiences they offer. These parks also introduce visitors to this part of the country and the wide range of recreational opportunities available here. National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning more than $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service, and it's a big factor in our local economy as well. We appreciate the partnership and support of our neighbors and are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local communities."

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas of the U.S. Geological Survey and Lynne Koontz of the National Park Service. The report shows $18.4 billion of direct spending by 331 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 318,000 jobs nationally; 271,544 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $34.9 billion.

The 2016 report also includes information for the NPS overall. It indicates that most park visitor spending was for lodging (31.2%) followed by food and beverages (27.2 %), gas and oil (11.7%), admissions and fees (10.2%), souvenirs and other expenses (9.7%), local transportation (7.4%), and camping fees (2.5%).

Report authors this year produced an interactive tool. Users can explore current year visitor spending, jobs, labor income, value added, and output effects by sector for national, state, and local economies. Users can also view year-by-year trend data. The interactive tool and report are available at the NPS Social Science Program webpage:

The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state.

To learn more about national parks in Utah and how the National Park Service works with Utah communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to

For additional information about the Southeast Utah Group of national parks visit our websites:
Arches National Park
Canyonlands National Park
Hovenweep National Monument
Natural Bridges National Monument

Last updated: August 29, 2017

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